< what your enemies usually would do >
10:20am this morning, 6 May 2023, Their Majesties, King Charles III & Queen Camilla, will make their way in a royal procession through the streets of Central London to Westminster Abbey, where, at exactly the strike of 12, the crown of St Edward will be placed on King Charles’s head and proclaimed the “Undoubted King.” And it’s “God Save The King!” all across the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth and Realms of the British Empire!
Now, this is a big deal. The first of its kind in 70 years, since Charles’s mother Elizabeth in 1953 was crowned Queen, a reign that endured to its platinum jubilee. Of all the eligible dignitaries to grace the actual coronation event inside Westminster Abbey, only 2,000 seats are available.
You can trust the American president is (by virtue of the immensity of his power and his country’s long and deep alliance with the UK) entitled to more than one seat. At least for himself and a significant other.
But Joe Biden won’t be attending. And trust there’s no more important engagement anywhere in this world he’d rather be about. I mean, it doesn’t get more important anywhere in the world than being in London today. Trump even taunted Biden would probably be sleeping all day.
The thing is, Donald Trump has blasted Biden for not being in London today. He said it was an affront on the English monarchy. He queried that it would have taken nothing from a Biden who recently did a tour of Northern Ireland to show up to London for this all-important event.
Of course, the larger context for this fierce criticism, like many others before and after it, is the race for the White House. Just like your opponents and enemies who want what you have would do. It is pitching popular opinions against you, insinuating they’d have done better in your shoes.
Here’s what they’re cashing in on: people’s ignorance. And here’s what I mean. Trump would probably, and almost certainly, not have attended the coronation were he sitting president. He knows why Biden isn’t attending, but is weaponising the fact that most people don’t. I mean, over 80% of Americans alive (are less than 70 years old) haven’t witnessed an English coronation and wouldn’t know what an American president should do with a coronation IV.
There have been over 8 coronations since the founding of America in 1776 and no American president attended any. For the last one, that of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower was invited but skipped it, sending a delegation instead, like Biden has sent his wife Jill, accompanied by granddaughter Finnegan.
Come to think of it, it is ideologically nonsensical for the US President to ever attend. I mean, this is monarchy that democracy is everything against, and there will be the president of the free world seated in an audience where a king is being crowned. Makes any sense? In this particular coronation, the Archbishop of Canterbury will actually invite the audience, both in the Abbey and across the UK, to do homage to the new King. And Trump is asking Biden to be in that room. PR disaster! Like fire and brimstone was hauled at the Catholic JFK for kissing the Pope’s ring.
We can talk about how the coronation is now only a relic of a past, how the English monarchy is only a cultural heritage, and how it doesn’t really mean anything particularly powerful. But signs and symbols will always mean something. And the memories they venerate will always open old wounds.
While it is the winning strategy of your opponents to cash in on the ignorance of your audience, it is your responsibility to dispel the darkness of their ignorance by informing them accordingly. Don’t leave them in the dark, else they’d make recourse to whatever your enemies call light.
As a temporary resident of the United Kingdom, it is only fair that I join and chorus:
GOD SAVE THE KING!